Maybe someday after these current books are published I can move on to write about related very difficult experiences I live with continually as a survivor of severe infant and child abuse. Lack of accurate language to talk about these experiences makes writing about them most difficult. I am left with ‘explanations’ such as ‘disorganized-disoriented insecure attachment disorder’ and ‘reactive attachment disorder’ to try to find a common ground from which I can talk about what my life is like.
This issue is foremost in my thoughts due to the many hours I spent on the telephone with my daughter, Ramona today as she works now with editing and proofing the manuscript of my book, “Story without Words,” whose subtitle is still under construction.
It is a kind of hell that I wrote that book – and cannot read it. I don’t know that I will ever be able to read it. That could never probably make sense to anyone who does not understand the consequences of living in a trauma-changed body. Getting anywhere near what I wrote in my own book triggers my ‘disorganization-disorientation’ as I react to my own writing about my own life.
Someday I may walk myself through this kind of experience as I write it.
The best I can describe to my daughter now is that I live in a million-room mansion. All the doors are closed except the doors to perhaps five rooms. In these five rooms exist all I can safely remember and know about the trauma of the first 18 years of my life of abuse. I KNOW in the ways that matter what lies within all those other rooms behind their closed doors. But it is UNSAFE for me to open those doors and go poking around in any way in search of what is held in memories that do not belong as a part of my ongoing current life.
It is not really even safe for me to return to the memories I wrote about in my book. There is a risk to my ongoing stability to venture into those memory places – or in allowing those memories to encroach upon my ongoing life now. I did what I needed to the best that I could as I wrote what I wrote – but I cannot correct what I wrote. My daughter understands this.
Perhaps someday in the future I will wish to describe more of what I know I know. At present I can feel that I walked through the continual traumas of my childhood like I was walking in slow motion through explosion after explosion – that NOW would appear – should I wish to examine related memories – as if the explosions themselves happened in slow motion.
I explained it to my daughter like this: Something hits a large pane of safety glass and it shatters into billions of pieces. But the pieces are very small and sparkly. I walk through the flinging shards very slowly as they explode slowly – and in this way – somehow I stayed safe as a child going through all of that.
Then, every one of those experiences became sealed away in ‘rooms’ that became instantly ‘the past’. None of them had anything to do with me. I just had to survive them. To endure them. To get through them alive. And to live on. To move on. Into the future. Because I was alive, the future always belonged to me. (Most of it was not a pleasant life.)
So, like so many survivors understand about ‘dissociation’, these experiences as they were contained in memories, were never put together into a coherent whole. I call these ‘bubble’ memories. They are each like a shard of flying broken glass – still flying as long as I let them. I don’t want to stop those memories from doing whatever it is that memories do if you just leave them be, leave them alone – and never go back for them.
But writing books about one’s abuse history requires some contact with not-nice memories. I have evidently chosen a collection of memories (as I have explained on this blog before) that I for some reason wanted to (which includes needed to) remember. I work with those memories ONLY –
But even working with these memories is threatening – not to get too close. Not to get too close to all the rest of the memories that I do NOT believe I need/want. What a lot of life force energy it takes to keep one’s own life at bay – to keep one’s self safe from one’s own past!!!
So, quite logically and rationally and reasonably it seems to me, once I write a memory in a book I have no earthly reason to go back and READ it! Which of course seems a little strange on first glance or even upon many glances!!! It is awkward. A bit, perhaps, like walking along while making every possible effort NOT to walk in one’s own footsteps.
But, we survivors – we know how to do this if we want to maintain any order and orientation sense of ourselves in our current life. If we stumble over our own trip wires – REACT! Not a pretty picture.
So, as I tell Ramona: This book I have written I could not write again for all the money in the world. It has been written. It will never be written again by the woman who cannot go back and read it. What I know is that the book is intense, about a very difficult and dense subject. But at the same time the book floats in the air lightly as if the whole thing is a big solid iron object floating at the end of a gossamer spider web thread.
It cannot be altered except for very little delicate alterations that improve its whole ‘self’. It is alive in some way. It is whole and complete. It is ‘this way and no other way’. We must be careful not to hurt it or break it – and adding anything to it might do just that.
Unfortunately I did not feel moved to write a description of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) in that book – and that information needs to be in there. My daughter and I will negotiate that addition, and an addition that describes the seven books of my mother’s writings that are also in queue waiting to be processed for publication. All of this ‘stuff’ can hopefully be included in the back-end of the book without touching the rest of the book’s integral wholeness.
My daughter will be able to bring this book forth into the world. I have no doubt. No amount of gratitude I feel for her help can be put into any other word except LOVE. As hard as the topic of this book is, it IS love that brings it forth. I will trust exactly that.
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